Reporting Fraud At Work And Other Whistleblower Concerns

One major issue that confronts a majority of whistleblowers is their employment. Should you report the fraud to your employer first? Can your relationship with your employer impact your case? Below, whistleblower attorney Tony Munter address some of these questions and what it’s like to be a whistleblower.

Should I Report Fraud To My Boss Or Employer First?

I do not think that is the first thing you should do. You should call a lawyer and find out what your rights are and find out the scope of any problems you may have encountered before you report to anyone about anything.

You need independent advice as to the nature of the activity and whether or not the company might even be doing anything wrong. Maybe they’re not, maybe there’s nothing really to worry about.

The problem with reporting internally, as much as all these companies want everybody to do it, is that if you report internally you can suffer consequences. Yes, there are whistleblower protection laws out there, they’re really there just to give you the right to sue if you’re wrongfully terminated.

They don’t prevent harm from coming to most employees most of the time, so you want to find out the scope of the kind of case you have, whether it’s a fraud case or some other kind of whistleblower case, before you do anything.

Can I Be a Whistleblower Even After I’ve Been Mistreated By A Company?

You can, assuming that you are reporting on fraud and that’s the reason for your mistreatment. You might have an action under the False Claims Act chapter 3730(h) claim for retaliation. And there are similar whistleblower claims and whistleblower laws for retaliation under other whistleblower laws.

But the question really isn’t being mistreated. Being mistreated in the sense of them treating the whistleblower badly is a matter of employment law and a matter that may or may not be a case. Being paid too low or not following appropriate payment amounts might be a False Claims Act case if the payment levels are a condition of the contract between the employer and the government.

If there’s like a government program involved or a government grant or a government agency involved and it’s a construction contract or something and they’re not following the law, yes, I suppose that could be a False Claims Act case.

But just being mistreated by your employer is not usually in it of itself a matter for a whistleblower case. The question is what is the government or the company doing that’s wrong, that’s what makes the possibility for a stronger whistleblower case.